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SONUS FABER BOOKSHELF SPEAKER ADVICE: Lumina II; Sonetto I; Sonetto II; Venere 1.5

Laserjock

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Do you think the Venere 1.5 are more suited to that kind of application, rather than CD/tuner through a stereo receiver in a living room?
I’ll throw them on stands in the living room on a receiver and see how they fair and let you know.

Where are you? US?
 

MGG

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You are referring to the Venere 1.5 in both sentences, correct?
I have read that rear-ported is not as desirable as front-ported, in my situation.

I worry a bit because opinions on the Venere seem to range so far and wide, much more positive/negative than many other Sonus faber speakers.

I am very inexperienced, but have heard Cremona Auditor. They sounded beautiful, rich, fine. The Venere seller claims the Venere 1.5 "will wipe the floor" with Cremona Auditor.... Even I don't believe that kind of hype, the only transparency to my ear there being the seller's desire to sell the Venere regardless, I guess.

Yes, I was referring to the Venere 1.5.
Rear port location might be even desirable as it can somewhat mask issues of imperfectly designed port. Measuring in room response and equalizing will be much more important than port location if accurate reproduction is desired.

Amplifier matching is most cases completely irrelevant.
 

Laserjock

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That would be interesting, thanks.

Yes. Los Angeles, CA.
I finally had a chance to listen to them on stands that are normally used with Revel M106 speakers.

They didn’t sound bad but seemed “thin” on some of the songs I listened to.

I was using Tidal through a Bluesound Node to a Denon 4520 using Direct Pure mode, so no processing or sub used.

This is a big room with high ceilings with open floor plan to kitchen, dining and upper floor loft.

In a smaller room they definitely sounded better so they may be good for your use.
 

gsp1971

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Have you checked the KEF LS50 Meta? Small footprint and great directivity.
Also the ELAC DBR-62 are front-ported and have been well reviewed here on ASR.
Or are you focused only on SF?
If so, in your price range, I have only heard the Chameleon bookshelves in a Hi-Fi Show and they were decent.
 
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venessian

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I finally had a chance to listen to them on stands that are normally used with Revel M106 speakers.

They didn’t sound bad but seemed “thin” on some of the songs I listened to.

I was using Tidal through a Bluesound Node to a Denon 4520 using Direct Pure mode, so no processing or sub used.

This is a big room with high ceilings with open floor plan to kitchen, dining and upper floor loft.

In a smaller room they definitely sounded better so they may be good for your use.
Thanks. That seems in line with my own assessment having read all I can on the Venere 1.5: that they are not for me, compared to Lumina II (which are $300 less and new) or Sonetto I (which are $300 more and new).
 
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venessian

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Have you checked the KEF LS50 Meta? Small footprint and great directivity.
Also the ELAC DBR-62 are front-ported and have been well reviewed here on ASR.
Or are you focused only on SF?
If so, in your price range, I have only heard the Chameleon bookshelves in a Hi-Fi Show and they were decent.
Yes, I did listen to the LS50. I did not like them so much, far preferred the KEF R3.
But after a month more research, I decided to cut the R3 off the list, given my purposes etc.
So the two contenders (I have heard both in shops 2 or 3 times) are Sf Lumina II, Sf Sonetto I, and Vandersteen VLR Wood.
Spendor A-1 and ProAc also come highly recommended but I will not buy a speaker I cannot first listen to in a shop and then in my home.
 

raindance

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The VLR Wood is an awful speaker. It is terribly inefficient, has a non flat frequency response and has to be against a wall to produce any bass at all. The only thing it does well is reproduce saxophone almost like it's in the room with you. It's well built but terrifically colored sounding.
 
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venessian

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The VLR Wood is an awful speaker. It is terribly inefficient, has a non flat frequency response and has to be against a wall to produce any bass at all. The only thing it does well is reproduce saxophone almost like it's in the room with you. It's well built but terrifically colored sounding.
"Awful" seems a bit harsh. It seems you really dislike the VLR Wood, because I'm pretty sure I have read almost the same response from you regarding them in other threads, when I was searching.

Have you actually heard them?
Compared A/B to which other speakers?

Against wall/on-bookshelf is what I need and am looking for, as previously stated.
Sensitivity is 86 dB for the VLR Wood; Sonus faber Lumina II is 86 dB; Sf Sonetto I is 87 dB.
I do have 2 subwoofers (Rythmik L12).
I did not find the VLR Wood particularly colored, in 3 different sessions.
 

raindance

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I owned them, yes. I tried really hard to like them. They're definitely not 86dB per watt - even against the wall they required more twist from the volume control than the Magnepans I had. They also lack treble extension and have a hole in their response around the crossover point that makes them sound laid back and not bright, a common trait among Vandersteen speakers. This also makes them not "sound" very loud - I used a seriously powerful amp and could not get much volume out of them. I compared them with Magnepan .5, Ascend Sierra 2 and Polk LSim703. I had REW measurements at one point, but am not sure they still exist. Out of the above speakers, I liked the Sierra 2 the most.

I also had some Sonus Faber Principia 7's which I did not like, they were very lightweight, cheap looking and sounding speakers.

If all I listened to was quiet saxophone music in a very small room, I'd have the Vandy's. This is my opinion, so yours may differ. It seems to make people angry when I say anything untoward against Vandersteen speakers. I had their 2CE's for years and enjoyed them.

I bought the VLR Woods because they were compared favorably in reviews to the KEF LS50, but they are nothing alike.
 
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venessian

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Thanks. Now I understand your experiences and impressions better. Of the speakers you mention the Ascend Sierra have intrigued me for years. I often go back to that website, but I have never heard them, feel I do not like ribbon tweeters, and am reluctant to jump on the direct-sale train with a group of speakers, having to order, receive, connect, listen, re-package, and return.

I really prefer to avoid all that and just listen first in stores to see if I even like the speaker at all. I have had so many disparate brands/models recommended to me, from BW to Focal to MartinLogan to Dynaudio, which I then heard in stores and disliked almost immediately, that if those had been internet-direct trials I would be spending half my life at UPS….
 

raindance

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Have you tried Revel or JBL? I no longer have a dedicated listening room and am happily using the JBL 530's with a pair of Hsu subs. They're not "exciting" speakers, but instruments sound realistic and, with the ports plugged, they work very well close to the wall in my newly shrunk office space.
 
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raindance

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Also, to be totally fair to Vandersteen speakers, I would say that the applications I WOULD recommend the VLR series for would be (1) surround speakers or (2) placement in an actual bookshelf, as they are almost immune to "booming" in this application.
 
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venessian

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Have you tried Revel or JBL? I no longer have a dedicated listening room and am happily using the JBL 530's with a pair of Hsu subs. They're not "exciting" speakers, but instruments sound realistic and, with the ports plugged, they work very well close to the wall in my newly shrunk office space.
No I have not. I do not think there are models easily auditioned here, and I am also becoming exhausted driving around and trying different brands. From all I have read of Revel, including comparisons with Sf, I would not really like Revel much. JBL, I have no idea. But I cannot continue going after brand after brand after brand. It's even starting to dilute my impressions of the few speakers I have heard, now multiple times. So, either I can listen in person or I simply can't keep chasing the tail.

Also, to be totally fair to Vandersteen speakers, I would say that the applications I WOULD recommend the VLR series for would be (1) surround speakers or (2) placement in an actual bookshelf, as they are almost immune to "booming" in this application.

The VLR Wood are certainly also designed (at least claimed as such) to be positioned on shelves, my situation, and not just in cabinets. Apparently very flexible regarding placement. For instance, by comparison the KEF R3, which I thought sounded great twice, seemed much more "locatable" (could very much sense where they were, eyes closed, not a nice sensation) in space than the VLR Wood, or even the Sf. The KEF R3 sounded good, but really changed aspect off-axis, which I thought interesting but odd for a 3-way "UniQ" speakers (and the R3 are rear-ported, which is not ideal in my positioning situation). They really changed, compared to the sealed VLR and front-ported Sf, and I did not like that much at all, as I listen off-axis as much as on-axis. The other 2 sounded much more broad, which I greatly preferred in terms of soundstage and presentation.
 
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raindance

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No I have not. I do not think there are models easily auditioned here, and I am also becoming exhausted driving around and trying different brands. From all I have read of Revel, including comparisons with Sf, I would not really like Revel much. JBL, I have no idea. But I cannot continue going after brand after brand after brand. It's even starting to dilute my impressions of the few speakers I have heard, now multiple times. So, either I can listen in person or I simply can't keep chasing the tail.



The VLR Wood are certainly also designed (at least claimed as such) to be positioned on shelves, my situation, and not just in cabinets. Apparently very flexible regarding placement. For instance, by comparison the KEF R#, which I thought sounded great twice, seemed much more "locatable" in space than the VLR Wood, or even the Sf. The KEF R3 sounded good, but really changed aspect off-axis, which I thought interesting but odd for a 3-way "UniQ" speakers(but also rear-ported, if that made a difference). They really changed, compared to the sealed VLR and front-ported Sf, and I did not like that much, as I very much listen off-axis as much as on-axis. The other 2 sounded much more broad, which I much preferred.
Maybe your use case will work well for the little Vandy then. Personally I would avoid ported in that application unless the manufacturer provides foam plugs and then the speakers would be used with the ports plugged. But the VLR is actually tuned for shelf and close wall mounting which is very unusual and might actually boost the sensitivity to the claimed 86dB because of the wall boost. I guess I should have asked about the application first :).
 
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venessian

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Maybe your use case will work well for the little Vandy then. Personally I would avoid ported in that application unless the manufacturer provides foam plugs and then the speakers would be used with the ports plugged. But the VLR is actually tuned for shelf and close wall mounting which is very unusual and might actually boost the sensitivity to the claimed 86dB because of the wall boost. I guess I should have asked about the application first :).
Don't plugs only apply to rear-ported speakers, especially if positioned close to walls?

The Vandersteen VLR are sealed, as are Spendor A-1/etc, and the Sonus faber Lumina and Sonetto are front-ported, both of which typologies seem OK for my situation.
 

jools

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It IS exhausting to drive around auditioning speakers but it's worth it because it's so difficult to judge what they might sound like from measurements. At least that's what I found. I'd recommend listening to some Revels - they were my preference out of all the standmounts I listened to (M105) but in the end I went with Sonus Fabers... but the Sonetto III. Not what you're looking for... but not what I was looking for either, so perhaps also worth a listen. Or perhaps not - you probably have different preferences. Just have to keep trying them until you fall in love.
 

raindance

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Don't plugs only apply to rear-ported speakers, especially if positioned close to walls?

The Vandersteen VLR are sealed, as are Spendor A-1/etc, and the Sonus faber Lumina and Sonetto are front-ported, both of which typologies seem OK for my situation.
Honestly, what the wall does to the bass isn't different between front and rear ported speakers (or even sealed speakers), it creates a type of horn loading that can emphasize a range of frequencies. Typically the flattest bass is obtained by placing the speakers really close to the wall and electronically equalizing the peaks down. The VLR has heavily shelved bass so that the close wall placement actually brings the bass in balance.
 
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venessian

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It IS exhausting to drive around auditioning speakers but it's worth it because it's so difficult to judge what they might sound like from measurements. At least that's what I found. I'd recommend listening to some Revels - they were my preference out of all the standmounts I listened to (M105) but in the end I went with Sonus Fabers... but the Sonetto III. Not what you're looking for... but not what I was looking for either, so perhaps also worth a listen. Or perhaps not - you probably have different preferences. Just have to keep trying them until you fall in love.
Thanks.
I looked on the Revel website and there is a dealer fairly close to me, so I could go there. But it seems much more a HT chain than stereo from the website.

The other issue is that store is completely different from the other stores I have visited, and will be a completely different environment. They do not carry Sf of course. At one Sf dealer I heard Sf (loved them) and B&W (disliked them). At the other Sf dealer I heard Sf (loved them), B&W again (really disliked them), Focal (disliked them), KEF R3 (liked them but not as much as the Sf), and Dynaudio (too dark for me, disliked them). The point is that at those shops I was able to directly compare the Sf to the others whereas at this store it will be only Revel, and likely therefore to be a potentially incorrect impression, since I cannot A/B them in same room with same equipment with speakers I know I like from several sessions at two different shops. So, we'll see....
 
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venessian

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Honestly, what the wall does to the bass isn't different between front and rear ported speakers (or even sealed speakers), it creates a type of horn loading that can emphasize a range of frequencies. Typically the flattest bass is obtained by placing the speakers really close to the wall and electronically equalizing the peaks down. The VLR has heavily shelved bass so that the close wall placement actually brings the bass in balance.
I see, thanks.
 
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